Book Openers

As a little kid I always had my nose in a book. And now that I'm thoroughly grown up, I still do. Below you'll find author profiles (lots of memoirists) as well as mini – and not-so-mini – book reviews.

Armistead Maupin: The Man Who Wrote the Quintessential San Francisco Novel — On a Newspaper Deadline

 

Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin reads from "The Days of Ana Madrigal" at Book Passage, SF Ferry Building

Armistead Maupin at Book Passage on Tuesday — as witty and kind and generous with his fans as he was with his San Francisco Chronicle co-workers. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Armistead Maupin’s assignment was to show up at the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle every weekday morning and produce seven hundred words, give or take. But unlike most newspaper journalists, Army did not sit  down to his Selectric typewriter fortified with a reporter’s notebook fat with stats and quotes. [Read more...]

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Books I Might Read If I Weren’t So Danged Busy Writing My Own

book jackets on a desk include Pastrix, Consider the Birds, Mama's Child, Hidden Lives, The Fourth Gospel,  Photo by BF Newhall

Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

So many books. So little time. And a manuscript deadline looming so near.

Titles at the Top of My Gotta-Read List

Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to the Birds of the Bible, by Debbie Blue, Abingdon, $16.99 paper.

Debbie Blue is a wonderful preacher and spiritual director. She helped me shape the book that’s keeping me from reading hers. Debbie could write about the cracks in the sidewalk and I would find it inspirational. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about – birds. [Read more...]

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The Lost Poems of Jane Johnstone Schoolcraft — A Native Michigan Voice Rediscovered

Oval portrait of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, ca. 1825. Courtesy Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, circa 1825. Courtesy Johnston Family papers, the Bentley Historical Library, the University of Michigan

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

A decade or so ago, the librarians at the Illinois State Historical Library were getting ready to move their collection into the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. In the process of cleaning up they came across some boxes of old documents, which they decided to catalogue.

One of those boxes contained a cache of writings by Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, a little known Ojibwe poet born in 1800 at Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. [Read more...]

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. . . And Two Books I Did Read, Sorta — By Lauren Winner and Anne LaMott

Author Lauren Winnerchecks her cell phone at The Glen in Santa Fe in 2009. Photo by BF Newhall

Lauren Winner, author of Still, taught a spiritual writing class at The Glen in Santa Fe in 2009. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Yesterday I wrote about five intriguing books that have come across my desk in recent months — good books that I never got around to reading. Here are two more books — by memoirists Anne LaMott and Lauren Winner — that I’ve actually managed to blast through in a [Read more...]

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Good Books I Haven’t Really Read: Anna Quindlen, Stephen Prothero, David Talbot and a Book About French Love . . .

Patricia Bracewell, author of historical novel "Shadow on the Crown," speaking at Left Coast Writers meeting, Book Passage, corte madera, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

And Patricia Bracewell’s book makes eight. I resisted purchasing her tantalizing historical novel, Shadow on the Crown, at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA, earlier this week. So it’s not on my gotta-read list — yet. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Seven books I never read. Make that five, because I did actually skim through two of the seven intriguing books currently languishing on my bookshelf, crying out to be read. (Is skimming [Read more...]

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